A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dave's Deep Thoughts - A Perfect Day Off

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

My eyes opened after a wonderful night’s rest,
and I realized it was Friday,  my day off work.

The sunshine was streaming into the bedroom.
Birds were playfully dancing and chirping outside the window.
My puppies came up and licked my face with a good morning wakeup call.

It was then that I realized…..
this was going to be David’s Wonderful, Amazing, Absolutely Fine, Very Good Day.

I decided to take a morning swim.
I frolicked in the deliciously refreshing 80 degree water.
Geese flew overhead in perfect formation to entertain me.
Bunnies came out of the fields to join me in my merriment.

As I opened a new box of my favorite cereal,
out fell a paratrooper complete with parachute,
my favorite toy!

I played with my paratrooper for an hour until he landed in enemy territory,
a.k.a. my puppy’s mouth,  and met a most unkind fate.
It was obviously NOT going to be Mr. Paratrooper’s Wonderful, Amazing, Absolutely Fine, Very Good Day.

After a moving funeral service and burial for Mr. Paratrooper,
I decided to do what any fun loving kid would do on his day off…….
re-bundle his insurance coverage.

I dressed and looked in the mirror as I combed my hair.
Every hair fell into place.
In addition to having a good hair day, I said to myself
“I am at the beginning of a Wonderful, Amazing, Absolutely Fine, Very Good Day.”

As I turned on the car,
Pharrell’s “Happy” came on the radio.
I sang along as I drove up the highway.
As people passed me, they smiled and waved.
Policeman nodded in approval as I drove past their speed traps.

I went into the insurance office with three separate life, auto and home insurance policies.
I left 60 minutes later with a bundled package and a savings of $1800 annually.
It was evident that I was having a Wonderful, Amazing, Absolutely Fine, Very Good Day.

I decided to do my grocery shopping while in town.
It was sampler day at the store,
so I got free tastes of crabmeat, bacon bites, and puff pastries.
By the time I got to the cashier,
my tummy was so full with yummies
that I almost decided not to buy any food for the week.

An elderly woman was ahead of me in the cashier line.
She was in an electric scooter.
She was struggling to pull her items out of her basket with her cane
onto the cashier’s counter.
As she labored, I introduced myself and told her
that I was having a Wonderful, Amazing, Absolutely Fine, Very Good Day,
and that I would like to help her.
I’m not sure, but I do believe as I assisted her with her groceries,
she began to hum Pharrell’s “Happy”.
Perhaps I wasn’t the only one having an Wonderful, Amazing, Absolutely Fine, Very Good Day!

When it came time for me to checkout,
my day came to a screeching halt.
Uh oh!
I had left at home my coupon that would give me twice as many gas points!
For the first time that day, my smile turned into a frown.
I mentioned my boo boo to the cashier and she said,
“No problem, I have an extra gas coupon right here,
for four times the gas points!”
I did a happy dance as I packaged my broccoli.
I wished the cashier a Wonderful, Amazing, Absolutely Fine, Very Good Day
and jaunted off into the sun splashed parking lot with my cart.

As I drove home,
sports radio kept talking about how awesome my team was.
I nodded in agreement.

Once in a while,
we have those kinds of days where everything just falls into place.
But they are rare.

Some days, everything seems to go wrong,
but most days are just a mixture of the two.

How do you find your joy each and every day?
If we allow our circumstances to dictate our joy, we are in trouble.
The truth is that circumstances more likely create happiness,
and not deeply rooted joy.

Here is what I have found that works.
First, two things that aren’t innately spiritual but which work very well….

Find humor  and laughter everyday….it releases endorphins in your brain
Exercise……..it really releases endorphins in your brain, lots of them.

Now to some things that the Bible says will deepen your well of joy…..

Practice kindness to strangers
Out of everything good that happened for me that day ,
the thing that I believe that brings me closest to God’s intention for my life,
was when I helped the elderly woman at the cashier’s line.

It made me think about how I would be feeling if my mobility was so restricted 
that I needed to use a cart to accomplish all my activities.
I left feeling grateful that I can move freely.

Doesn’t matter if you have a good voice or not.
The Bible tells us we are to praise Him in song.
Think about this….
A country song makes you want to go buy a dog and a pickup.
A love song males you feel either lonely or sappy 
Think where praising God through song will take you.

Make list of your blessings
I know, it sounds a little cheesy.
And I am not one who likes to journal.
But each day, I make a list in my mind of the things
for which I am grateful.
It develops a heart of gratitude.
And gratitude fosters joy.

God is always with us, 
but there is something to be said for intentionally reaching out to Him.
It makes us far more receptive to what He is trying to say.
It also allows us to give Him the burden that we have been carrying on our own.
Prayer allows us to more fully sense His presence
and experience His love.

And if God’s love doesn’t grant you joy, nothing will.

The next day,
my awesome team lost,
the puppy peed on the carpet,
and I cut through the extension cord while trimming the shrubbery.

But I still had an Wonderful, Amazing, Absolutely Fine, Very Good Day
a.k.a.  a day of joy.

Any reason that you shouldn’t do the same?

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